Actually, I did send a mail to Machinefabriek thanking him for sending me this album, but also explaining him that I would pass on mentioning it – simply because I do not want to fill this weblog with alternating reviews of the same artists over and over again.
(And there’s quite a lot of Machinefabriek on ambientblog already – just do a search to find out).
But I forgot Rutger Zuydervelt is one of the very few extremely prolific artists that manage to find an interesting angle for almost every new release.
Secret Photographs is no exception to that rule. It somehow crept up on me, I kept returning to it because the album seemed to reveal new details with every listen.
Secret Photographs is a 75 minute long album, divided in three parts: the center piece subtitled “Colour” and the other two “Black and White”.
This refers to the story behind the music, which is the original (“unhurried”) soundtrack to a movie about the photographs of Alvin Karpis, once ‘public enemy number one’ for being a notorious bank robber, and the longest serving prisoner of the Alcatraz penitentiary.
None of that part of his life is referred in the music, however. Secret Photographs is about the photographs Karpis made in the last years of his life, after he moved to Spain in 1973. The film (which is still in the making) consists of still images, slowly dissolving one into another. And for that, this album is the perfect soundtrack.
At first listen, the opening track sounds extremely minimal; it seems to be no more than a single, almost continuous chord. But in the backgound, there’s a lot going on. This may only become clear when you focus on what seems to be the background “hiss” (headphone listening may be preferred to hear all details).
This, somewhat familiar, tape-like hiss, and the ever changing background rumble act like a a time-machine transferring you into the past (the early seventies, that is).
It also suggests to ignore the first impression, and keep searching for the image behind the original image.
The ‘Colour’ of Part Two is different from the ‘Black and White’ pieces: it starts with a clear and (again) unhurried guitar theme that slowly unfolds and, over the course of 32 minutes, gradually dissolves into the background.
It may be ‘barely moving’, yet nothing stays the same for long. Intriguing….as always!
MACHINEFABRIEK – SECRET PHOTOGRAPHS (Excerpts)